American Idol
Miami Ow Machine

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Cuban Fizzle Crisis

This recap is dedicated to Jennifer Hudson. Without her presence, I find myself drinking until I fall asleep and waking up crying. I can't find the energy to go to work, and they're threatening to fire me. I don't bathe. I don't eat. I can barely find a reason to go on living.

It's nice to finally have something to blame it on.

Tuesday. Ryan Seacrest snatches away The Incredibly Ridiculous Fake Heartbeat of Attempting to Produce Tension from the Melodramatic Announcer; he voices over a reminder of what the point of the whole show is as we see the six remaining finalists up on the Seal. The show resists the urge to have Ryan tell us outright that a vote for John is a vote for evil.

Credits. Ryan heads out onstage in another bad outfit, a beige leisure suit with a black dress shirt. He looks like the world's tiniest bouncer at a trendy club. He "thanks" the public for all the angry responses the show has gotten over Jennifer's ejection. Aww. Welcome to the fan wars. There's beer in the fridge and nachos on the kitchen counter. It's nice to have company. Ryan deliberately pauses after mentioning Jennifer's ouster so that Pavlov's Dawgs can boo, and so he can then whine that it's not his fault. It's not like the show went out of its way to portray John Stevens as a nice young man with a sweet family that so many people can identify with in this rather nasty social environment these days, and then turned around and said people should ignore that shit and vote for talent or anything. Right? Ryan says some guy from Ohio suggested Ryan shove a microphone stand up his ass. Ryan, he was probably just flirting. Ryan points out that the results are due to our vote, or perhaps we didn't vote at all, because we "felt no need." Yeah, that's me. Except I didn't care, either, so my desire to shove a mike stand up Ryan's ass has nothing to do with Jennifer's ejection. ["I'm going to assume for the sake of my sanity that it wasn't because you were flirting, either." -- Sars]

Ryan reveals that the kids tonight will be performing the songs of Gloria Estefan tonight. Eeeh. I'm ashamed to admit that I was a big fan of Miami Sound Machine when I was in high school. I thought they were awesome. It was partly because there was a drummer or keyboarder (I'm old -- can't remember) who played shirtless in one of the videos. Ah, puberty. Oh, and I had this bizarre fantasy about juggling torches to "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" as performed in the half-time show by the school marching band. No, there is no explanation for it. I can't even juggle. Anyway, enough of the Joel Stein moments. Ryan introduces Simon Cowell by saying he's wearing "Cuban heels." I have no idea what Cuban heels are. Ryan just keeps out-gaying me at every turn. Ryan says Paula Abdul has the best cha-cha outside of Miami. For some reason that sounded grossly inappropriate. Paula appears to be wearing the background computer text from the advertising campaign for The Matrix as a top. Ryan concludes that Randy Jackson has more rhythm than a five-mile conga line. And worse dress sense. He's wearing a floral print shirt that looks like my grandmother's furniture.

So why would they pick a theme of music that's been out of style for years? Why, because they got the singer as a judge, of course. Ryan introduces Gloria out onstage. She looks as lovely as she always has in a simple black pantsuit. Pavlov's Dawgs give her the requisite standing ovation. Ryan asks her if she's ready to judge. She's not. She's not going to "judge" the kids. She says she's just there to root for them and smile. Well, thanks for wasting everybody's time, then. She might as well have just said, "I'm just here for the publicity." Or maybe she doesn't want a mike stand shoved up her ass. In her clip show, Ryan refers to her as the "reigning queen of Latin pop." She and her family fled Cuba when she was a child. A cavalcade of really, really regrettable outfits informs us that Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine hit the scene in the mid-'80s. Although when I see those back-up dancers in black mesh shirts, it reminds me that pop fashion hasn't changed all that much. The hair is just a little better. Gloria was later critically injured in a tour bus crash in 1990. Doctors said she might never walk again. But she did. She's sold more than 70 million albums worldwide. We see the kids practicing with her. She tells them all that she watches the show with her daughter. Jasmine tells us how cool and awesome and stuff it was to have Gloria around. She's still not wearing a flower in her hair (mood: not applicable). George says it was a privilege to work with her. John spits on the floor and says Gloria's a dumb bitch whose best days were, like, twenty years ago. Fantasia says something bland about the greatness of it all. Gloria says something bland about them all being remotely interesting.

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